Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Burnley will serve as a wake-up call for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
The charismatic German coach is now acutely aware that he needs to make small changes to his starting line-up, before the transfer window closes on August 31, in order to ensure the Reds to qualify for a top-four finish this season.
The big issue - but not the only issue - is at left-back. Alberto Moreno was dropped against Burnley but his replacement, James Milner, simply isn’t a full-back.
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Klopp may feel that he can still get the best out of Moreno, who flourished in Spain with Sevilla prior to his move to Anfield, but the 24-year-old lacks the defensive nous required to play in a back-four.
So, let’s take a look at what Klopp’s starting XI could - or rather, should - look like come September 1.
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Goalkeeper: Loris Karius
Joe Hart is on the market but Klopp is likely to stick with summer signing Loris Karius, expected to be back in September following a hand injury, in goal.
The former Germany Under-21 international is surely a safer bet than Simon Mignolet, who conceded five goals from five shots faced between the Arsenal and Burnley fixtures.
Right-back: Nathaniel Clyne
Nathaniel Clyne, unlike Moreno, is improving all the time and must be one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet these days.
The 25-year-old, though, must continue working hard to ensure he keeps his place in the XI.
Centre-back: Joel Matip
Due to the underwhelming performances of Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan against Burnley, many Liverpool fans are keen for summer signing Joel Matip to get his first taste of Premier League football.
The Cameroon international should be handed an opportunity to shine against Burton Albion in the League Cup on Tuesday.
Centre-back: Mamadou Sakho
It’s been a worrying few months for Mamadou Sakho, what with the drugs ban and then his falling out with Klopp in pre-season, but the French defender is expected to stay at Anfield beyond this summer.
Sakho will soon return to first-team training and it shouldn’t be too much longer after that until he’s back in the starting XI.
Left-back: Bruno Martins Indi
Although predominantly a centre-back by trade, Bruno Martins Indi can also play at left-back.
The Dutch defender is on the Reds’ radar and there’s a chance an agreement will be reached with FC Porto over the next nine days.
Midfield: Georginio Wijnaldum
Liverpool forked out a cool £25 million for Georginio Wijnaldum this summer, so it’s safe to assume the Dutchman will retain his place in the starting line-up after the transfer window has closed.
However, the former Newcastle United players needs to deliver the goods for his new employers as quickly as possible. There are plenty of players in the Reds’ squad ready to take his place.
Midfield: Emre Can
Jordan Henderson isn’t becoming the Steven Gerrard replacement that Liverpool fans hoped he would be when their former skipper left for America.
The England international was woeful against Burnley and could lose his place in the Liverpool line-up - temporarily, at least - to Emre Can.
Midfield: Adam Lallana
Adan Lallana needs to start contributing more in terms of goals and assists in order to stay in Klopp’s team.
Marko Grujic is a real talent and will soon put serious pressure on the Englishman for that third midfield spot.
Left-forward: Philippe Coutinho
Henderson recently stated that Philippe Coutinho has the ability to reach the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
If the Brazilian wants to prove that statement isn’t nonsense, he needs to step up in every single match - including away visits to grounds like Turf Moor.
Right-forward: Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane started well for Liverpool, scoring a magnificent solo goal on his competitive debut against Arsenal.
The former Southampton star has the quality and consistency required to keep Daniel Sturridge out of the XI.
Centre-forward: Roberto Firmino
Roberto Firmino is more attacking midfielder than striker, but the Brazilian is capable of playing as a False 9 in Klopp’s system.
A better option than Sturridge, who could end up leaving Anfield at some point over the next 12 months.
How should Jurgen Klopp set his team up after the transfer window closes? Who else should he sign? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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